‘The Gift’- ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ E22/S5 (2001) Review

Buffy.DawnDirector: Joss Whedon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anthony Stewart Head, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan.
Genre: Action/Fantasy/Drama

*Spoilers ahead*
Season five of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is my favourite season by far. There’s so many funny, gripping, and emotional episodes in this season- and this is definitely one of them. Our main protagonist Buffy Summers is a witty, charismatic character portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge, Cruel Intentions). Even in the face of death she always manages to crack a good joke. As episode twenty two arrives Buffy is now a young twenty year old woman who has been slaying vampires since she was only fifteen. Overcoming many demons and monsters Buffy must now face another apocalypse and try to save the world yet again.

This season finale joins the slayer and the gang after Buffy’s sister has been captured by this series villain, Glory (Clare Kramer). ‘The Gift’ starts off with the gang struggling to find a solution to save Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) and defeat Glory. Usually the energetic character, this episode begins with a toned down Buffy who faces an impossible task- this time involving her sister. With such a huge responsibility on her shoulders as the slayer, she doesn’t know what to do in order to save her sister and protect the rest of the world. In Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance you can see just how fed up her character is of fighting, surviving and battling evil. This isn’t the life she wants.

As Buffy and the gang prepare for the battle ahead, there is a touching moment in the training room between Buffy and her mentor Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) as they discuss the difficult choices ahead. We can clearly see how exhausted she is and that she’s had enough of this dangerous life. Shockingly at the end of this scene she declares to Giles that if anything happens to her sister, she’s quitting being a slayer. This is obviously a huge decision for her, one that she isn’t taking lightly.

The best part of any series finale is definitely the closing scenes. Once again there is a huge fight to save the world as the whole gang work together to defeat Glory. Just like any other fight scene in the entire show Buffy is bad-ass to the very end. These bad guys should really learn not to mess with her or her family and friends. The reason why this is one of my favourite ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ episodes is because of the beautiful emotional scenes that follow the big fight. Having defeated Glory, Buffy races to the top of a high tower structure to save her sister. But the slayer arrives just a second too late. Faced with an impossible decision, Buffy knows that her sister must die in order to save the world.  Brave Dawn was going to sacrifice herself, even though she knew she would have died, but inevitably it is Buffy who has to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Buffy chooses death in order to save her sister and the world. In the background behind her a bright demonic portal is opening to unleash chaos as she says her goodbyes to her sister. As always Buffy is brave and courageous as she accepts her fate. A fate that follows anyone who is chosen as a slayer- a short life. Beyond the portal there is an approaching sunrise- a beautiful setting for such a tragic ending.

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it”- Buffy Summers.

During her last moments with Dawn, Buffy looks prepared and ready to sacrifice herself. In her last duty as a slayer she runs along the platform and dives off the top of the tower to her death. We see Buffy dive into the portal and it looks as though she experiences some pain and torment before she dies. As the sun continues to rise, we join our other characters at the bottom of the tower, grief-stricken, as they approach Buffy’s lifeless body on the ground. A very emotional moment indeed. Cut to the very final scene of this episode and we see the camera slowly approaching a gravestone under some trees. The beautiful music continues to play as we read Buffy’s headstone where it’s written that she was only twenty when she died. It seems that every slayer is destined for a short life. It is even more heart-breaking when it also reads that ‘She saved the world a lot’.

In all I think that this was an such an incredible and deeply emotional episode to end season five on. When I first watched this (amongst the tears) I thought- “She’s got to come back right?”. It is a great episode but with such an awful cliff-hanger- what will happen now? I might have spoiled this episode, but I won’t spoil the rest. In my opinion season five of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ has a spectacular finale and it is overall an amazing season to watch.

 

Rating: 9/10
Best bit: The best bit is always the big fight at the end.
Worst bit: Cliff-hanger much!
Take note: Have tissues ready as this has a very emotional ending.

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